By Paramjit Singh Rangpuri
Jalandhar, Jan 16 : The International Folklore Punjabi Academy organised a Bhangra Olympiad in Jalandhar recently, in an effort to keep alive the traditional dance form of Punjab.
At least 10 teams from India and abroad participated in the competition.
The competition provided young participants a platform to showcase their talent.
Participating teams from Toronto and Australia were thrilled to perform bhangra, on the land of its origin.
Bhangra originated as part of celebrations during Baisakhi, the harvest festival. Eventually, it also became a part of occasions like wedding and New Year celebrations.
"Bhangra is a traditional dance form which has undergone a lot of change and the craze has gone down. Now, bhangra is performed with lot of speed. People have also started inviting bhangra dancers to perform at marriages," said Inderjeet Singh, an organiser.
"The purpose of the event is to make people aware of the traditional dance in its original form so that people take interest in it," Singh added.
Bhangra is an action packed energetic dance with artists swinging to fast and loud drumbeats.
"Bhangra is performed in foreign countries with much enthusiasm, but in India people are not much interested. The youth have started to look down upon the traditional dance form. The dance has lost its respect with most of them who shirk to take up bhangra as a profession. We have performed with the aim to popularise the dance from," said Ranjot Gill, a participant from Toronto.
The participants from abroad feel that bhangra has been commercialised. But the silver lining is that bhangra has gained popularity worldwide and Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are working hard to save the traditional dance.
"We have come here to perform bhangra and I am very excited and happy. It's nice to perform in own country. Despite our busy schedule we have come here particularly to perform so as to keep the dance alive within us," said Gurpreet Singh, a participant.
The organisers are hoping that the spirit of the Olympiad would act as an inspiration to promote the traditional dance among masses in its land of origin.